The top executives for Cuba’s three inbound tour operators spoke at the¬†New York Times Travel Show¬†March 2-4.
According to John McAuliff, executive director of the¬†Fund for Reconciliation and Development, the U.S. State Department granted the Cuban officials visas in just three weeks, less than half the usual processing time.¬†
“When I met with the head of the U.S. Interests Section, John Caulfield, he expressed skepticism,” McAuliff wrote in a message to supporters. “Whether it was his backing, and/or a policy shift in Washington, the consular office stayed open after normal hours on a Friday, and … [the Cuban officials] were on [a] non-stop flight to New York the next morning, arriving within minutes of the scheduled panel.” ¬†
Participants in the panel on the “Outlook for travel to Cuba” included Eloy Govea of Havanatur, Luis Sotolongo for Viajes San Cristobal, and an executive for Amistur, as well as¬†Marti Aragones of Hoteles¬†Sol Meli√°,¬†John Cabanas of¬†C&T Charters,¬†Bob Guild of¬†Marazul Charters,¬†Sandra Levinson of the¬†Center for Cuban Studies, and¬†Adam Sichta of¬†Insight Cuba.